Israeli authorities notified, on Monday, a resident of the town of al-Khader, to the south of Bethlehem, of an order to demolish his private-owned shed, used as an animal shelter, according to a local activist.Coordinator of the anti wall and settlement committee in the town, Ahmad Salah, told WAFA that Israeli soldiers handed Ibrahim Sbaih, a notice to demolish his shed which is adjacent to the illegal settlement of Itmar, citing lack of a building permit as a pretext.
He said that Israeli forces began its work in Batin Almasi area over a month ago. He said it aims to take over vast areas of land adjacent to the settlement of Itmar as a prelude to expand the illegal settlement.
According to B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories,” Several hundred hectares were declared state land in the 1970s, and it was on that land that Israel built the settlements of Efrat – directly south of al-Khader, Neve Daniel and El’azar.”
It said that the town was left with only about 800 hectares of land out of over 2,200 hectares, which it once encompassed.
As for the town’s land located in Area C, the center reported that “Israel permits no building there, and besides, most of that land has ended up on the other side of the Separation Barrier.”
Under the Oslo Accords, the town’s territory was divided into three different areas; 74.5 hectares (9%) were in Area A; 45.7 hectares (5.5%) were in Area B; and more than 700 hectares (85.5%) were in Area C. Since this division was made, the population of al-Khader has nearly doubled, said the center.
In a story published in April 2014, Adnan Ibrahim Salah, head of the local council, estimated the town’s population at 12,000 residents, yet, he stressed that the tracts of land available for construction in the town have not expanded to keep up with the increasing population.
It said that, “The shortage of land for building in al-Khader also damages basic services to which the town’s residents are entitled, including medical care and education.”
Issuance of construction permits for Palestinians living in Area C, under full Israeli administrative and military control, is strictly limited, forcing Palestinians residing in such areas to embark on construction without obtaining a permit to provide a shelter for themselves and their families, risking in the process having their homes demolished.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), between December 30, 2014 and January 12, 2015, the Israeli authorities demolished 27 Palestinian structures in Area C of the West Bank and five others in East Jerusalem, in addition to two self demolition incidents, due to lack of Israeli-issued building permits.
The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) affirmed that the Israeli authorities do not only demolish Palestinian homes, but also hinder the issuance of any building licenses for Palestinians in Jerusalem and its boundaries.